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May 11, 2008

Amazing law school insights from an innovative source

I was at first amused and then amazed by the terrific law-school-selection advice to be found in this great column by Clay Travis at CBS Sports.  Though the first 7 points are cheeky, the final 10 are remarkably insightful about so many aspects of law school.  Here are extended snippets from a must-read piece for everyone around a law school or aspiring to be around a law school:

Judging by the e-mails to ClayNation the overlap between lawyers, aspiring lawyers, and sports fans is substantial.... So without further ado, here's ClayNation advice on how to pick a law school.

1. Visit the school when there's good weather, if at least half of the guys aren't wearing shorts, flip-flops, and t-shirts, then you don't want to go there.  Law school should be fun because being a lawyer isn't fun....

2. Don't be completely seduced by law school rankings....

4. Go sit in the law school library for a half-hour. Pretend to read a newspaper and check to see how often the students smile or laugh when interacting with each other. If no one ever smiles or laughs it's a horrible sign.

5. Think about the size of the law school....

8. Assuming the law school is above 80 percent, comparing bar passage rates tells you nothing about the quality of a law school. Don't be moved by the trumpeting of these stats. By the time you're studying for the bar exam you realize that most intelligent people could spend three months studying the Barbri course outlines, memorizing the absurd MBE fact patterns, and pass the bar exam. But by that time you've spent three years learning how to be a lawyer. Congratulations. Once you've practiced law for a couple of years you wouldn't be able to pass the bar exam. It's a great system.

9. The better the school you attend the more it costs but the less hard you have to work while you're there....

10. If you destroy the LSAT and have a good GPA you may have a decision to make regarding whether to take a scholarship to a lesser school or pay more to go to a more selective school.  It's hard to give advice in this situation because no matter what you think now, you have no real idea whether you'll actually like practicing law....

15. Where should I go to make the most money?  If money is your ultimate goal you shouldn't be a lawyer. There are thousands of ways you can make much more money. Plaintiff's lawyers notwithstanding, as a lawyer you're ultimately hamstrung by how many billable hours you can crank out. And every hour you bill is one less hour you get to have a life. Be careful chasing those big firm golden handcuffs, be careful.

16. Keep in mind that the law is completely unbalanced when it comes to career search.  The most competitive jobs in the legal profession are either the highest-paying or the lowest paying....

And if you're miserable [in law school] keep in mind that after six months of practicing there's a 100 percent chance you'd rather be a law student again. Law school is one of the few places on earth where students compete to one day be able to go back to law school. If you doubt this pick up the resumes of your favorite professors who are under 45. Look at how few years they actually spent practicing law. Yep, in the circle of law-school life, as soon as you leave, you start working on finding a way to get back.

May 11, 2008 in Rankings | Permalink

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